Thrombolytic therapy is the most recent advance in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction. Several research trials have been conducted worldwide in the last decade that have established that thrombolytic therapy has reduced mortality 50%, reduces the size of the infarction, improves left ventricular function, and reduces the incidence and severity of congestive heart failure. The three most commonly used thrombolytic agents at this time arc streptokinase, tissue plasminogen activator, and anisoylated plasminogen-streptokinase activator complex. All three agents can be administered through a peripheral intravenous. Recent research results have reported similar efficacy on 5-week mortality of all three agents. Careful assessment of prospective patients is essential since bleeding complications arc the most serious side effect of this therapy. Nursing care of a patient undergoing thrombolytic therapy includes careful assessment of the patient for contraindications in the patient’s medical history, assessment of potential allergic and bleeding complications, and evaluation of the reperfusion markers. Patients are subsequently treated with anticoagulants, aspirin, or dipyridamole. It appears that thrombolytic therapy will become increasingly available to all patients with a diagnosis of suspected acute myocardial infarction. At present, treatment with thrombolytic agents is less available in the United States compared to Europe

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